While a German newspaper reported last week that Audi had decided on Mexico as the location for its new North American plant, Audi officials have now said that no decision has been made.
Audi spokesman Brad Stertz told Automotive News that locations in Mexico and the U.S. are still in play and that no decision will be made until Volkswagen’s supervisory board meeting on April 18. “It still going to come down to discussion on the board level,” he said.
Audi parent VW currently operates one plant in Mexico and will open the doors to a second in 2013. Mexico would give Audi a few key benefits, including access to growing markets in South America and savings related to an absence import duties. However, Michael Macht, VW’s head of manufacturing, says the importance of a “Made in the U.S.A” tag can’t be overlooked.
Georgia is presumed to remain in the running if a U.S. plant location is made because of its proximity to Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga Tennessee assembly plant that builds the U.S. market Passat. Automakers like to group plants near to each other to be close to a fixed supplier base, but also often look to locate in neighboring states to diversify the number of politicians in Washington sympathetic to their causes. This was the strategy for Hyundai when they annouced the West Point Kia factory just over the Georgia state line from their Alabama manufacturing facility.
If Georgia economic development officials remain in the running for this new facility and the jobs that would come with it, it appears they have just over one week to sharpen their pencils.
P.S., if Georgia officials are prepared to give away $400-$500 Million dollars, I would rather have it go to concessions for 3,000 direct manufacturing jobs than to build a new, open air stadium next door to our current domed stadium so that Arthur Blank can inflate both his ego and his net worth.